MSC Creation Justice Task Force Legislative Advocacy Work Group

April 13, 2022
Submitted by Dave Hemion, MSC Creation Justice Task Force

This Mission of the Advocacy Work Group is to collaborate with other organizations and assist local churches and the conference to educate and mobilize people of faith to advocate for Federal and State Legislation in the pursuit of Climate Justice.
 

“Hope and Action” are bywords for the Mountain Sky’s Creation Justice Task Force and its Legislative Advocacy Work Group. Hope flowers when there is a continuing realization of our faith in God’s love for all Creation, Earth included. Action that flows from our collective faith as Christians is strengthening the movement for climate justice in United Methodist churches in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.
 
Judy McGoogan, co-leader of the Advocacy Work Group, explains her passion for creation justice in action.  “After watching the movie “Kiss the Ground” with my teenage granddaughter, I realized that we really CAN turn things around – and that we have VERY LITTLE TIME left!  I felt called to join other dedicated UMC folks working for Climate Justice.“
 
“I love seeing individuals choose to recycle and reuse, but I think folks in our churches can make their MAXIMUM IMPACT by working together and simply using the tools of democracy that our founding fathers fought for and the Wesley’s could only dream about! To me, the goal of our Legislative Advocacy team is to inspire folks to do that and to make it easy for busy, caring people to get involved by voting and speaking out to their leaders – especially at the STATE level – where we can REALLY make a difference.”
 
Much of the climate advocacy work in the conference is being done by churches that are  collaborating with environmental and climate justice organizations, such as 350 Colorado, Interfaith Power and Light, and the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC). Those groups bring expertise, focused lobbying campaigns and alerts on key legislation, while church members can help amplify lobbying messages to legislators from a faith-based foundation.
 
The Advocacy Work Group page on the conference website includes updates from each state on climate-related bills and actions. The Work Group is exploring online grassroots lobbying programs to strengthen advocacy on legislation in each of the conference states.
 
Here’s a round-up of climate justice advocacy activities by churches across the conference.
 
Colorado  
Colorado members of the Work Group are rallying support for significant pollution reduction planning, reducing greenhouse gasses in Colorado, and tax incentives to reduce emission building products and improve heat pump technology.
 (Contact Judy McGoogan jmcgoogan@yahoo.com)
 
Montana
Carbon neutrality is a tough issue for Montana climate activists, as Montana has 25% of US recoverable coal reserves and provides fuel for major power plants serving utilities in Washington and Oregon. Legislation in both states is dictating that their utilities eliminate reliance on coal-fired plants. This is ratcheting up the legal and legislative conflict between the coal industry and climate justice advocates. In March, St. Paul’s UMC in Helena adopted the Creation Care Church Covenant with the Conference and a Creation Advocacy Network has begun recruiting climate activists in preparation for Montana’s 2023 Legislative Session.
(Contact Dave Hemion, davehmontana@gmail.com )
 
Utah
Utah’s Session ended in March and Work Group member Terry Haven reports the passage of legislation to support electric vehicles, a study bill for the electric grid (transition away from carbon fuels and effects of climate change),  and a resolution to “Work Together to Address the Climate, Public Lands, and Carbon Sequestration.” (“That’s a good sign that we are moving further away from debating climate science and towards debating climate solutions”, Terry said.)
(Contact Terry Haven, thaven47@gmail.com )
 
We are looking for a few good legislative thinkers from Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming who would be interested in helping us gather resources for legislative actions in those states. Please contact Dave Hemion at davehmontana@gmail.com for more information.